This is the first year that both of my kids are in school, and their daily absence has created a bit of a time vacuum for my wife. Rather than go stir-crazy, she has been spending most of her days volunteering at the school. Trading two kids for 20 may not seem like the way to go, but it seems to suit her. Among the many duties she has taken on around the campus, she found herself the chair of the gardening committee, kindly nominated by a friend who vacated the post this year. She doesn't have much of a green thumb, but is endlessly enthusiastic.
|Photo by Nicholas L. Hall|
|Ill-gotten figs, boiling in sugar syrup.|
Recently, she organized a community work day, and we spent several hours at the school pulling weeds, raking leaves, and removing ridiculous numbers of dead plants (she tried valiantly to save the landscaping, but the drought took its toll). Our kids, who had begged and begged to come along, promising to work hard and not just goof off all day, goofed off all day. Most of their time was spent on the playground, or eating the donuts we had provided for the volunteers. That is, until my eldest discovered the fig trees.
Unbeknownst to me, she diligently denuded three smallish fig trees lining the playground, plucking their tiny green fruits and gathering them in her pocket. She knows I love figs, and has likely overheard my nefarious plots of thievery, aimed at making those schoolyard figs my own. You know, once they had ripened. She held them out to me excitedly. You could almost see the expectation of praise in her eyes, poor thing.
I let her down gently, explaining that the figs weren't ripe, and were probably more or less inedible. She teared up - I think she was mostly upset that she had wasted them - and she implored me to try to do something with them. She's a sensitive soul. More »